3 Best Practices of Remote Production [Tools & Techniques]

Want to streamline your remote production and make your life easier? Check out these 3 best practices you might be missing in your production workflow.
Digital Production
October 27, 2022
3 Best Practices of Remote Production [Tools & Techniques]

Before COVID-19 had everyone working from home, in-person production could get pretty chaotic. After pre-production, everyone would immediately begin running in a million directions like they were on fire, until everything would come together on set.

Well, it’s still like that – but now people are on fire in the comfort of their own homes and on set.

For example, in the realm of digital asset creation and management, there are a fair number of remote teams. There are some animation studios that have gone completely remote. For film and television production now, most studios have a COVID-19 coordinator for teams on set.

“The challenge is that we’re living in a new world; the way that people have gone about doing their [production] jobs on the set has changed dramatically.” - Thomas Davis, Former Business Manager of IATSE Local 80

With the pandemic ushering in new remote and hybrid workflows, it’s crucial to keep up to date on the latest best practices to turn some of that production chaos into order.

Because many studios, vendors, and departments are now fragmented in different locations, we have put together the three best practices to optimize your remote production processes. Let’s start with one of the most important production methodologies: digital asset security.

1. Make Sure Your Files Are Secure

It used to be that you would simply ask whoever is needed to review a few sequences over your shoulder in the office. Now, what do you do when the director is in Australia and the colorist is in LA?

You send them the digital assets, or whatever needs approval, via technology.

Every production process must have a high level of IP security to prevent leaks. That’s why any content created should be encrypted, have their viewing permissions limited, or be at least watermarked when reviewed in virtual meeting rooms.

Plus, digital asset creation still happens (mostly) remotely after the pandemic. While actors and directors are on set, the asset creators are trying to coordinate with them and other teams at home. This creates a potential security risk.

“The move to virtual production really picked up during the pandemic. What was found is that you don’t have to have as many people travel to these events. You can have a crew build a set and not travel.” - Kari Grubin, Head of On-set Virtual Production Initiative for SMPTE’s RIS program

2. Have Consistent, Live Reviews While Remote

While assets, clips, and other production elements must be secure during remote reviews, how often should these reviews take place?

Some industry experts recommend daily reviews, or at the very least every-other day communication for remote production updates. However, this can lead to a logistical nightmare for some production teams not in the office. The real answer is, you should have as many reviews as possible per week that makes sense for your production needs.

Tony Chambers, Walt Disney Studios' Executive Vice President of Theatrical Distribution, speaking about "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” It was mostly produced and edited via Zoom.Credit: Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage

That’s why, to keep pre-production and production workflows on schedule and under budget, it’s vital to have consistent remote reviews. Production enabling technology, like Digital Asset Management platforms (DAMs) help manage such remote approval timelines and processes. The cadence and expectations for managing reviews is easily documented and clear to everyone involved.

3. Use Media Collaboration Tools for Approvals

The location of where assets are created no longer matters as much as it did before COVID-19. Modern technology has acted as the bridge to force the film industry into remote (and some claim, more efficient) workflows.

“During the pandemic, people had a chance — involuntary as it was — to try out workflows that they had not tried previously. [Virtual Production] technology has changed all this, and it has had a pretty big impact in the ability to work remotely.” - Dan Pisarski, Vice President of Engineering at LiveU

For production teams, directors, vendors, and more, remote media collaboration tools have long enabled fast approvals and fostered creativity. It was only during COVID-19 that they became vital for productions.

Those who give approvals are chronically busy. Thus, the technology any production team or vendor uses for remote reviews must be fast, easy to use, and be battle-tested. You don't want something that takes your video or assets forever to load.

The unfortunate truth is that generic screen-sharing tools will not do your assets, scenes, or shots justice. So, what technology can?

The Ultimate Remote Production Tool: A DAM Platform

Digital Asset Management platforms provide a source of truth for modern asset management & real-time collaboration, which is critical for remote work. Everyone involved in remote production must stay in sync, and a DAM platform offers the right tools to do so.

Are you prepared to handle the explosion of your virtual production pipeline? Read this article to learn how to start getting ready!

Before DAMs, every office had their own department-specific technology, but it wasn’t up for the challenge of remote work. For example, 5th Kind’s functionality offers on-screen annotations during remote reviews, allowing everyone to note what needs to be changed at the right moment. Plus, it only takes seconds to collaborate or share assets, which enables instant WIP reviews, no matter the location.

5th Kind takes all the workflows that everyone said needed to happen in-person, and made it possible for remote teams. Our platform can even live stream at high fidelity and at low latency.

Optimize Your Remote Production & Control Digital Assets

While the film and animation industry may have been thrown into remote production out of necessity, many studios and vendors are realizing the advantages of their new workflows. Their digital assets are more secure, and live approvals have transitioned from the office onto computer screens.

In 2022 and beyond, the movement towards modern, efficient production technology has changed the industry for the better. As long as you have the right tools in place, like a Digital Asset Management platform, your remote production will only become more efficient.

Optimize your remote production reviews and workflows with 5th Kind’s DAM platform! Schedule a demo today to see how easy it is to use, and learn why major studios trust 5th Kind.

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